Researchers at Wistar Institute have discovered a new class of compounds that combine the direct killing of pan drug-resistant bacteria with a rapid immune response for tackling the antimicrobial resistance (AMR). The findings of the research published in journal Nature came especially when even the World Health Organisation (WHO) has declared AMR as one of the top 10 global public health threats against humanity. The United Nations (UN) health agency has already estimated that by 2050, antibiotic-resistant infections could claim 10 million lives each year along with a blow of $100 trillion on the global economy.
The scientists at Wister Insitute have reportedly taken a “creative” and “double-pronged strategy” to develop the molecules that can kill such bacterial pathogens. Farokh Dotiwala, M.B.B.S., Ph.D., assistant professor in the Vaccine & Immunotherapy Center and lead author of the effort to identify a new generation of antimicrobials named dual-acting immuno-antibiotics (DAIAs) also said that the new compound would generate a simultaneous immune response.
“We took a creative, double-pronged strategy to develop new molecules that can kill difficult-to-treat infections while enhancing the natural host immune response," said Farokh Dotiwala.
This research is more groundbreaking because the existing antibiotics only target the essential bacterial functions including nucleic acid or membrane. Hence, allowing the pathogen to acquire drug resistance by mutating the bacterial target that the antibiotic is aiming against and thus making them inactive. Dotiwala also said that the researchers reasoned that the immune response would impact the bacteria on two different fronts.
"We reasoned that harnessing the immune system to simultaneously attack bacteria on two different fronts makes it hard for them to develop resistance," said Dotiwala.
Dotiwala along with his colleagues focussed on a metabolic pathway that is important for the most bacteria. However, it remains absent among humans and made it the ideal target for antibiotic development. The pathway is called methyl-D-erythritol phosphate (MEP) or non-mevalonate pathway is responsible for the biosynthesis of isoprenoids which are the molecules essential for the survival of the cell in many pathogenic bacteria.